Great authors at Hycroft 2007

Last night I attended the annual(?) celebration of newly released children’s books by British Columbia writers and illustrators. The event was co-hosted by the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable and CWILL BC (Children’s Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia) and was held at Hycroft Mansion.

The evening’s main purpose was to give BC writers and illustrators with new books a chance to booktalk their work to a receptive audience. Many in the audience were members of the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable and among those were, I believe, a few teacher-librarians. I got to wondering if maybe there should have been more librarians, though. I don’t know how many teacher-librarians are members of the VCLR, but I suspect that the number could be higher.

It is such fun to watch and listen to some of our favourite authors and illustrators talk excitedly about their new work. After hearing the animated presentations, I have a number of new titles on my “to read list;” some were already there and have now received a star. I will likely be able to sell these books to a prospective reader purely based on the fantastic booktalks we heard.

In his greeting, James McCann, the current president of CWILL BC, talked about the benefits of having an author or illustrator visit your school. Undeniably, students will be moved and inspired by having a successful artist right there in front of them, sharing the excitement and passion of books and writing. When I meet an author or illustrator, their books gain an aspect of … intimacy. This feeling of intimacy creates a more personal experience when I read their book(s), even if I have never actually met them.

I believe membership to VCLR is only $15 per year and I, humbly, think that lots and lots of people should join; there are round tables in cities across Canada. The February 2008 roundtable at UBC, Serendipity, will be a celebration of First Nations writers and illustrators including George Littlechild, Richard Van Camp, Leo Yerxa and Julie Flett. I’m sure it will be inspiring.

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